Borough Market, Southwark, London, United Kingdom
On a lightning business trip to London, I decided to make the most of my bit of free time by seeking out some sausage rolls here in Old Blighty, the original home of the sausage roll. Near my hotel in Chiswick, there were some bakeries, but they concentrated on bread, cakes, and pastries, with no sign of pies or sausage rolls anywhere. So I took to the Internet, seeking the “best sausage rolls in London”. Several list articles mentioned the Borough Market, a lively food market in Southwark, just on the south side of the Thames River from the City of London. I’d been here before, but was happy for an excuse to return.
Amidst the sights and smells of this wonderful market, I spotted my first quarry, sitting in a neat pile on a silver tray on the counter of a stall bearing the name of Northfield Farm. These were clearly sausage rolls, but they were obviously cold. The stall mostly appeared to be doing a line in hamburgers, fried sausages in buns, and steak sandwiches, with nary a pie warmer to be seen for heating up the sausage rolls.
I asked the lady behind the counter if she had any sausage rolls hot and ready to eat. She replied no, but they could heat one up for me. I agreed and was astonished to see her hand a roll to the man behind the burger grill, who placed it on the hotplate and began squashing it down with a metal spatula! He asked me if I wanted the roll cut in half – I was so discombobulated that I said no. It was only after he handed the roll to me, wrapped in a paper serviette, and I bit into it, that I realised my error. The exterior was acceptably warm, but the core of the sausage meat inside was still chilled as though just taken out of the fridge.
Nevertheless, I pressed on with the sampling. The roll was rather small, being both considerably shorter and thinner than a standard Australian roll. The price was £1.50, which converted to A$2.55, which I would consider expensive for a roll this size. The pastry was warm and nicely flaky, despite the pressure of the warming spatula. The filling was a fairly hard, solid lump of pork meat, which probably would have had a softer and juicier texture if warmed up properly. It’s acceptably spicy, with hints of pepper and herbs, and tastes good. Really the worst thing about this roll is that the middle is cold. It’s hard to give it a fair score, but I’ll have to go by honest impressions of what I got, which was generally good, let down by the serving temperature.
After finishing and walking around a bit more, I passed Northfield Farm’s stall again later in the afternoon, and saw several people having sausage rolls warmed up on the burger grill – all of their rolls spit in half down the middle so the cook could press the inside of the meat onto the hotplate. Clearly this was the way it was done!
Sausage roll: 7/10